He was quite well placed:

Iranian-born Daniel James is in prison facing trial under the Official Secrets Act for allegedly communicating information “useful to the enemy”.

The 44-year-old corporal acted as interpreter for Lt General David Richards, head of Nato’s security force in Afghanistan and one of the country’s most senior army officers.

Cpl James, who appeared at Westminster magistrates’ court in London on Wednesday, speaks fluent Pashtun – the language of most Afghans.

The Globe and Mail has more on Cpl. James:

Cpl. James was born and grew up in Iran and speaks fluent Farsi, Dari and Persian. He came to Britain from Iran after the 1979 revolution and changed his name from Esmail (Essi) Gamasai. Until recently, he ran a salsa-dancing nightclub in Brighton when not on military duty, news reports said. The muscular soldier ran the venue, Club New York, in a disused church and was known to patrons who attended salsa evenings as Danny J.

The Evening Standard reported yesterday that Cpl. James was an experienced non-commissioned officer and Territorial Army infantryman with more than 10 years of service, and that he was tried and trusted, having worked closely with the Intelligence Corps that provides information for, among others, British Special Forces. He had been security vetted — and cleared.

One clue that he might have been doing a bit of work on the side:

But details emerged later and it was revealed that he lived in an £800,000 house in Brighton.

The website for his Salsa club is offline. A look at the Wayback machine reveals a few years worth of really bad web design but little information.


  1. Michael John Smith

    Lies and disinformation has already started to appear about this new case of Mr Daniel James. As in my case fun was made of my interest in flamenco dancing, so now we have salsa as a way to deride the accused as being some sort of nut or eccentric.

    It is completely untrue that Mr Daniel James is the first person in 23 years to be charged under the Official Secrets Act, as was widely reported in the media. I was arrested in 1992, and convicted in 1993, for 3 charges under Section 1 of the OSA. I was sentenced to 25 years in prison, which was reduced to 20 years at Appeal.

    However, I am still fighting my conviction because of the lies and distortions that were used at my trial. The reason the prosecution were able to lie was because my trial was held in secret “in camera”. This is the tactic that British Justice uses to protect its national interests, although in my case there were no secrets to hide, as I did not have any secrets in my possession. But the prosecution used a secret trial to hide the facts from the public.

    Now Mr James is being led like a lamb to the slaughter down the same road as myself. I have written to Mr James to warn him of this, and I hope he will strongly challenge any attempt to hold his trial in secret, or he is likely to be found “guilty”. You can read about my own case on my blog here http://www.parellic.blogspot.com.

    Michael John Smith

  2. Anon Person

    Mr James invested in property for several years before deploying, therefore to cite his ownership of property as possible evidence of “work on the side”, is poor journalism.

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